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  • Cloth: $104.95 - Not In Stock
    978-1-4780-0196-6
  • Paperback: $27.95 - Not In Stock
    978-1-4780-0307-6
  • List of Illustrations  ix
    Acknowledgments  xvii
    Introduction. A Modern Critical Ludic  1
    1. Blur  29
    2. Drift  72
    3. System  137
    4. Pun  185
    5. Postlude  246
    Notes  273
    Bibliography  331
    Index
  • “This long-awaited and important book situates Surrealism in relation to Walter Benjamin’s idea that, with the withering of aura, there is an expansion of room for play. Susan Laxton shows how Surrealist activities unleashed the revolutionary power of playfulness on modernity’s over-valuation of rationality and utility. In doing so, they uncovered technology’s ludic potential. This approach casts new light on the work of Man Ray, Joan Miró, and Alberto Giacometti, among others, in ways that also illuminate the work of postwar artists.” — Margaret Iversen, author of, Photography, Trace, and Trauma

    “André Breton began the Manifesto of Surrealism by remembering childhood and play: ‘The woods are white or black, one will never sleep!’ Susan Laxton's Surrealism at Play recaptures the sense that surrealism should be approached as an activity, and one as open and as transgressive as this. Bucking the tendency to imprison Surrealism as purely an aesthetic affair, Laxton has produced the most compelling general account of the movement in a generation. Essential reading for all lovers of the avant-garde.” — George Baker, author of, The Artwork Caught by the Tail: Francis Picabia and Dada in Paris

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  • Description

    In Surrealism at Play Susan Laxton writes a new history of Surrealism in which she traces the centrality of play to the movement and its ongoing legacy. For surrealist artists, play took a consistent role in their aesthetic as they worked in, with, and against a post-World War I world increasingly dominated by technology and functionalism. Whether through exquisite-corpse drawings, Man Ray’s rayographs, or Joan Miró’s visual puns, Surrealists became adept at developing techniques and processes designed to guarantee aleatory outcomes. In embracing chance as the means to produce unforeseeable ends, they shifted emphasis from final product to process, challenging the disciplinary structures of industrial modernism. As Laxton demonstrates, play became a primary method through which Surrealism refashioned artistic practice, everyday experience, and the nature of subjectivity.

    About The Author(s)

    Susan Laxton is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California, Riverside, and the author of Paris as Gameboard: Man Ray's Atgets.
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